Jennifer Brier
Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Assessment and Interdisciplinary Programs
History Department


With a joint appointment in the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies and the History Department, my research and teaching are largely focused on exploring the historical intersections of gender, race, and sexuality. My book, Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Response to the AIDS Crisis was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2009. In it I argue that AIDS provides the perfect lens through which to see the complex social and political history of the 1980s and 1990s. I substantiate this argument by detailing how activists, service providers, philanthropists and the federal government responded to AIDS in the first two decades of the AIDS epidemic. I place the history of a successful yet complex and contentious social movement organized to deal with the AIDS epidemic in conversation with a more traditional political history of how the state dealt with this public health crisis. Finally, I link the local to the global by connecting the development of domestic AIDS policy and activism to global AIDS policy and activism. I am the co-curator of an exhibition on LGBT history in Chicago set to open at the Chicago History Museum in 2011. As I am working on this exhibition, I also serve on the planning committee for Out at CHM, the gay and lesbian public lecture program run by the Chicago History Museum and the Center on Halsted. For more information on LGBT history programming see